On February 9, 2011, I was flying down the 101 S to get home from a late day at work. I had house music blasting and was going at least 90 mph. Not a single car on the road.
Or so I thought.
My radar detector had gone off but I wasn't listening because of my music. The officer was parked in a typical hiding spot right on the Lost Hills on-ramp. It was a bit too late as by the time I saw him, I was going way too fast. I thought I could be sly, go very fast, and go to the gas station off of Las Virgenes, which I did - and the moment I stopped to pull out the fuel filler out of its holder, the officer pulled up right behind me.
He yelled at me, insisting that I stay in my car. I left the gas pump on and went back into my car.
Long story short, I got a ticket for going 88mph.
I wasn't about to pay $424 for this nonsense. Besides, I was enjoying my house music and not endangering anyone. moo ha ha ha.
So I found a coworker named Peter G. who was an expert at escaping traffic tickets. He had a track record of over 80% of his tickets being dismissed. So I followed his guidance and here's what happened. (all credit to Peter G)
THE REAL DEAL ON HOW TO GET OUT OF A SPEEDING TICKET:
1. Go to the local courthouse of the area you got the speeding ticket in. In my case this was in the valley. Request a Trial by Written Declaration (TWD). You could technically do this by mail but it's faster to just go to the place and get the form. You also have to pay the fine up front in the courthouse to be allowed to do the TWD. This is the total amount (not the traffic school ticket amount). In my case, $424.
2. The clerk will give you paperwork to fill out, which you'll have 3 weeks to return it. Basically, you tell your side of the story - literally make something up that you can sell your case with. You can write up a word doc story and make it all official looking, and reference it as an attachment.
3. Submit all this to the court. Again, do it in person so it doesn't get mixed up or goes to the wrong mail address, etc. At this point, the officer who gave you that ticket has a first chance to submit his own side of the story- basically, his rebuttal. And if you're an officer that's got a quota to fill with hundreds of bookings in any given month, you better be sure you filed that report right. He will also have a time limit on when he needs to complete and return his paperwork. If he fails to return paperwork by the due date, the case will be dismissed. You get your money back, and it's like it never happened. This is where you get value from this process. Hey, if the officer hassled you by pulling you over and making you have to go through this, you might as well hassle him/her by filing this request and making them submit a report in their busy schedule.
4. Let's say the officer submitted it, which happens about 66% of the time. Ok, it's not over. If he finds you guilty, no problem - we now go to Phase II, which is the Trial de Novo. If you get the paperwork back in the mail saying you're guilty, it's one of the few times in the court system where you can take that paperwork back to the court and request a new trial (trial de novo). The clerk will have you fill out a paper and then give you an actual date to show up in court. This gives you the SECOND chance of a cop not showing up or responding to your plea for innocence.
5. At this point the game plan is to go to court on your court date, and plan to change your plea to guilty, unless you really think you were not at fault and you think you can win your case against the cop. BUT! Here's what you're REALLY hoping for. On the day you show up, at the beginning of the court proceedings, there's 2 big groups of people. One group are the bunch of people like you who know how to game this system - the other is a group of the cops who booked you in the first place. These cops are the hardcore ones that relentlessly pursue their tickets and you probably don't want to mess with them in the first place.
But, that day, which was approximately 8 months after I initially got my ticket, I went into court, and nervously waited. The judge made roll call for all attendees, both groups alike. There were several names of police officers that, when called, were not present. I was waiting for my cop's name to be called, and sure enough it was. My officer was not present. My cop probably left for another job by this time because I had made him wait so long. Either that or he was out busy catching other fish on the 101.
A huge sigh of relief came over me, but I was curious as to what would happen next. A random dude sat next to me and asked "so, we're good to go?" I answered, "I think so man."
Before the proceedings for the other unlucky souls began, the judge called me and this random dude up, amongst a few others whose officers were absent. I approached the stand.
Judge: "You are Peter Hwang, correct?"
Me: "Yes your honor."
Judge: "Due to the failure to appear of the officer for your case, you are thereby exonerated."
Me: "Thank you, your honor."
I went to the side, signed some papers, and about a month later I got my $424 back. It was the sweetest feeling EVER.
However during those 8 months it took me to fight this ticket, my insurance thought I bailed on traffic school and counted a point on my record and bumped up my insurance, which I to this day am still fighting. That's a different battle altogether. I also had to go the DMV to present my exonerated evidence to have them remove my point from the database, which the insurance companies depended upon to come up with my premium. The point's been removed, but the insurance cost is still there.
Bottom line - this whole process is one that not many people have the time, wherewithal, or knowledge to go through. But at the end of this process is a potential big value. Hey, if the system's gonna make you pay, at least make them go down with you in the process.
Don't go down without a fight!
Enjoy and hope this helps anyone who has gotten a traffic ticket.